How Small Security Teams Use Real-Time Data for Stronger Security & Resilience

Small security teams are often spread thin. But even for such small teams, real-time data can be a great force multiplier, allowing them to save lives, secure property and protect business reputation at short notice.

Regardless of age, size or industry, businesses today are facing a rapidly evolving risk landscape that challenges all types of security operations. From the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events to geopolitical tensions and the rise in cyber-physical risks, security leaders and teams are being asked to take on more than just their core traditional physical security responsibilities.

As such, smaller security teams, which frequently have fewer resources, may find it increasingly difficult to protect their organization and its assets. While a larger and more mature team may have more manpower, tools and specialized roles to tackle high-impact events and emerging risks, a security team of two to three often has limited capacity to identify, manage and address risks.

Real-time Alerts Help Your Security Team to Do More with Less

Imagine you’re a security leader of a team of three, who oversees a retail brand that has dozens—if not hundreds—of locations. When a risk incident occurs, be it a string of thefts or an extreme weather event, it might be nearly impossible for you to respond as fast and effectively as you could have if you had had more resources.

Here is where real-time data can prove vital to enabling small security functions to better protect their people and assets. With over 800,000 public data sources, artificial intelligence (AI) platforms like Dataminr Pulse processes billions of units of information daily to detect early indicators of risk that are often difficult to manually search for and identify—particularly when your security team has very few members. Think of it as an additional automated set of eyes that helps increase your threat visibility.

Real-Time Alerting in Action

During the November 2021 smash-and-grab robberies at several retail stores across California, Dataminr notified customers to every instance, ensuring they had immediate situational awareness and could swiftly restrict access to their stores. Security leaders and loss prevention managers used this real-time information to monitor the events as they occurred and lock down their assets in close proximity. The real-time information Dataminr provided also leveraged data from local eyewitnesses and verified reporters to help security teams escalate awareness and inform company executives.

Without that real-time data, it might have been challenging for even a large security team to have control of the situation due to the sudden and random nature of the smash-and-grab crimes. For security leaders—regardless of their operational size—to mitigate the risk impact, deploy effective responses and maintain business continuity, it’s crucial that they have the right information at the right time.

For security leaders—regardless of their operational size—to mitigate the risk impact, deploy effective responses and maintain business continuity, it’s crucial that they have the right information at the right time.

Responding to Threats in a Changing Risk Landscape

Even when there’s not an active risk, businesses now face an unprecedented security challenge: they need to protect a workforce that’s more dispersed than ever before. While employees used to be based at specific offices, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to adopt a remote or hybrid work model. Their employees and data are now located in various cities across the country or even the globe.

It usually takes a well-staffed security team to manage these geographically distributed employees. With Pulse real-time alerts’ wide range of coverage and personalisation capabilities, which allow you to tailor alerts to your business needs, your team of three can still protect employees in an extremely streamlined and cost-effective manner with the existing manpower.

However, we at Dataminr understand that small security teams might find it challenging to operationalise and act on real-time alerts, especially in high-stress situations. This is where Pulse’s geovisualisation and collaboration workflow capabilities can make it easier for them.

Through geovisualisation, your team can use rich visual data to quickly determine when risks are occurring near your personnel, facilities, assets and supply chain—and seamlessly visualise your organisation’s footprint to better assess the full scope of potential business disruptions. With this visual context, teams can take action faster and more proactively.

In addition, Pulse makes it simple to collaborate and manage your response to an incident, event or threat so you can move quickly from discovery to decision-making. When an incident occurs, you can activate customisable operational playbooks—which consist of predetermined actions that can be delegated to team members—to easily enable instant coordination and communication.


To learn more about how real-time alerting can help you strengthen your security and business resilience, please visit the Dataminr page, where you’ll find thought leadership content straight from the C-suite.

How Do Small Security Teams Gain Executive Buy-In?

Identifying and mitigating risk can be expensive, and without a recent, costly internal case study to point to, security leaders and teams can face an uphill battle in making a business case for more resources. It’s not a unique problem for small security teams. It’s clear, however, that with an expanding and changing threat landscape, small teams are often overstretched.  

They don’t have enough capacity to find and sift through the massive pool of information that can give them the earliest signals of an emerging risk. And we know that can lead to dire consequences for a business and its assets if threats are not detected or responded to in time.  

If you’re the head of a small security team, it’s important to remember that, when equipped with the right technology and tools, you can better help your company preserve its bottom line. When speaking to senior leadership, you should be able to demonstrate the value of real-time information.  

For example, it helps you quickly identify and mitigate potential risks and disruptions before they occur or soon thereafter, allowing you to maintain business continuity and strengthen resilience when confronted with an extreme weather event or social unrest near or in the areas in which you operate. It can also enable you to do more with less and improve efficiency by automating key parts of your security process.  

Ultimately, all security leaders have a common goal: to safeguard their people and assets. When armed with real-time information, even the smallest of security teams can strengthen their security posture and achieve that shared goal. 

Real-time Alerting for Businesses of All Maturity Stages

Organisations on a maturity trajectory and with plans to expand their security team or build a security operations center (SOC) should consider incorporating real-time alerting solutions into their workflows. This helps to optimise information gathering and processing, which gives the SOC team more time to spend on mitigating risk, rather than searching for it.  

But you certainly don’t need a SOC to reap the full benefits of real-time data. The value of the data is universal and can be utilised by all security leaders and teams, no matter what their operational model or size is—small and nascent, large and established, centralised or decentralised. Every security professional wants to know about critical information first. Their worst-case scenario is to get a call from an executive about an event they didn’t know about.  

With real-time information, even with limited resources, you can stay ahead of emerging risks and seek the optimal course of action quickly and efficiently.  



Dataminr is recognized as one of the world’s leading AI businesses. The company’s clients are the first to know about high-impact events and emerging risks so they can mitigate and manage crises more effectively. Dataminr solutions are relied on 24/7 by hundreds of clients in over 100 countries across six continents to help them solve real-world problems. Dataminr is one of New York’s top private technology companies, with over 800 employees across eight global offices.

Visit the Dataminr portal here.